Oily skin is usually something you are born with, and for those of us with oily skin, it can be challenging to believe we can do anything to help create a more balanced flow of oil from our pores.
Oils created by our skin are beneficial, they help relieve dryness, maintain a healthy skin surface, and keep skin pliable. The problem comes when our skin produces too much oil, causing our pores to become enlarged and the pore linings to thicken. Oils and dirt then get trapped, leading to blackheads and whiteheads.
For oily skin, the desired result is always less congestion in the pores, and therefore, fewer breakouts. We want to minimize shine and over-production of oil, but we do not want to strip the skin of oil entirely, or the skin will overcompensate by producing even more oil.
This page is going to provide you with a specialized facial routine meant for oily skin. It will also link to relevant articles and product reviews.
Disclosure: There are some affiliate links below and we may receive commissions for purchases made through links in this post, but these are all products we highly recommend. We won't put anything on this page that we haven't verified and/or personally used.
Ingredients to Avoid
Ingredients That are good for Oily Skin
Because oily skin can lead to clogged pores, trapped bacteria, and breakouts. Ingredients that kill bacteria, promote cell turnover and reduce shine are going to help keep your skin looking its best.
Caring for Oily Skin
Cleansing is essential for keeping your skin clean and your pores clear, but should not be done more than twice a day, as over-washing will lead to more oil production. The best cleansers for oily skin are sulfate-free gel or foam based cleansers.
If you wear makeup or sunscreen, you will want to use a double-cleansing method in the evening. The double cleansing method involves using a cleansing oil, balm, or micellar water to break down makeup, oil, and sunscreen on the skin, followed by a deeper, water-based cleansing (with your regular gel or foam based cleanser).
Oils have the ability to dissolve makeup and grime very effectively, without stripping the skin and damaging its protective barrier. An oil cleanser containing an emulsifier will be the easiest to remove and shouldn't require the use of a cloth.
A toner will help pick up left over dirt, oil, and cleanser. Simply splash toner onto a pad or cotton ball and swipe over your face. Pay special attention to areas that may get forgotten such as the crevices around your nose. Look for an alcohol free toner, as alcohol can be too drying.
Toners are a perfect way to deliver skin nourishing ingredients to a freshly washed face. Toners absorb into the skin, taking skin-repairing compounds with them. A toner containing vitamin C or vitamin B is excellent for anti-aging effects. Oily skin does well with a toner containing salicylic acid to help keep pores clear.
Look for toners containing ingredients like witch hazel (a natural astringent that is not drying like alcohol), geranium essential oil (great a cutting through oil), or a humectant that holds water in your skin, such as glycerin or sodium hyaluronate.
Serums are concentrated elixirs packed full of active ingredients. They are often quick-absorbing, water-based liquids that absorb deep into your skin. Serums are meant to penetrate the skin, delivering nutrients where they can do their work. A great serum is a must for any skin type. Here we are talking about water-based serums (we will talk about oil-based serums down below).
A good serum for oily skin will contain alpha-hydroxy acids or beta-hydroxy acids to help reduce the appearance of large pores as well as brighten dull spots. Serums high in antioxidants will help repair damage and keep your skin youthful.
When moisturizing oily skin, you want a moisturizer that is non-comedogenic (won’t clog pores). These can be hard to find, as even moisturizers labeled “non-comedogenic” can still contain pore-clogging ingredients [See a list of comedogenic ingredients].
Moisturizers seal in hydration and provide suppleness to the top-most layers of your skin. A lightweight gel moisturizer or serum is recommended for oily skin types. Look for something that is water or aloe vera based. Hyaluronic acid is a good moisturizing ingredient for oily skin.
Another option is to try a non-comedogenic facial oil as a moisturizer (more on these below).
Plant oils contain the essential fatty acids, antioxidants, and lipids that our skin needs to stay healthy. Oils applied topically to the skin absorb into the epidermis and help keep our skin barrier intact. [Have acne? Read: The Best Face Oils for Acne]
Oily skin does best with oils high in linoleic acid, that are non-comedogenic. Apply your facial oil after your serum and moisturizer. Use 1 - 2 nights a week.
Best Oils For Oily Skin
Facial Oil Blends
- Laurel Whole Plant Organics Balance Facial Oil - luxury
- Mahalo Vitality Elixir - luxury
- Mahalo Rare Indigo Beauty Balm - luxury
- Thesis Beauty Oily Skin Facial Oil - budget
- Annemarie Gianni Herbal Facial Oil for Oily Skin - budget
People with oily skin tend to stay away from sunscreens because they can't find one compatible with their skin type. Luckily there are some great, lightweight sunscreens available for oily skin types.
Look for a sunscreen using zinc oxide because it will leave a more matte finish to your skin, is anti-bacterial, and anti-inflammatory. A good way to get multiple purposes out of a product is to buy a tinted moisturizer with SPF, then you don't need a separate moisturizer and foundation.
Use a clay mask once a week to clear out pores. Don’t use them more than two times a week at most, otherwise they will dry out and irritate your skin. Yogurt or honey masks contain enzymes that digest dead skin cells that clog up pores.
Exfoliation removes dead skin cells from the surface of the skin, revealing the fresh, young-looking skin underneath. Exfoliation can be accomplished using chemicals such as acids, or by using physical exfoliates such as bits of walnut shells, oats, or apricot kernels.
Oily skin deals with enlarged pores and blemishes. Regular exfoliation ( 2-3 times a week) can help with these issues. I recommend using chemical (acid or enzyme), rather than physical (scrub) exfoliates for oily skin. Physical exfoliates tend to irritate the skin and cause breakouts.
Glycolic acid is a great chemical exfoliate that can be tolerated by oily skin types. Another great ingredient is Salicylic acid because it exfoliates the surface of your skin as well as inside the pore.
Read Our Anti-Aging Routine for Oily Skin.
I recommend using a natural retinol alternative - Kypris Beauty Midnight Catalyst - to stimulate exfoliation and cell renewal. An exfoliating enzyme mask used once to twice a week will help keep dead skin cells from building up - try May Lindstrom's Honey Mud.
Oily skin does well using a primer before makeup application, to achieve the best finish. Foundations should have a matte finish. Powder foundations, blushes, and eye shadows work best. A finishing powder helps to keep shine down and set your makeup for the day.
Best Organic Makeup Brands For Oily Skin
I hope that this page is a valuable resource to you and that it helps you find relevant articles and products for your skin type. Remember that the key to treating oily skin is to avoid ingredients that overstip the skin, or clog pores. You want to incorprate anti-inflammatory ingredients as well as ingredients that help keep pores clear and reduce shine. We hope you bookmark this page so that you can come back to it again and again.
You can read more dry skin articles here.
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To Beautiful Skin,
The TBOSC Team